The following product annoncement on official IBM letterhead found its way to my desk recently:
The Zurich laboratory unveiled the world's fastest chip this week. The chip, code name "timeless," is based on high temperature semiconductors and is capable of transfering data signals faster than the speed of light. This makes it possible for a computer based on these chips to produce answers before questions are asked.
Using this technology, the Austin laboratory has been able to produce a program product before the user requirements were known. Industry analysts found the Austin announcement humorous, citing that IBM has been writing program products without user requirements for years. Products created using the Hursley method are still expected to miss their ship dates due to the excessive length of the Fall and Spring planning cycles.
The Programming Systems Products organization is using the same technology to test program products in zero days. Said a spokesperson in Austin, "It's amazing. Just preparing to test the software thoroughly causes it to be tested. It's like the system can read your mind." Oddly enough, planning experts in System Test are reporting that regardless of productivity gains realized by the Timeless chip, the average test duration is nine months.
There have been rumors of some odd side effects of the Timeless chip. Some customers are have been receiving products before they order them. Most customers we interviewed did admit that they were planning to order the new software when it arrived. They said they liked the speed with which the product arrived, but they disliked IBM's new policy of billing them before they ordered anything. Said an IBM billing expert, "We knew they were thinking about ordering some software, so we thought we would think about billing them."
IBM Service has made some exciting advances in hardware and software maintenance based on these side effects. IBM Service worldwide has begun a preventative maintenance program in which IBM Customer Engineers think about fixing all the problems of every customer. Said an IBM Service representative, "The program is working well. Service calls are down 99%. The only calls we are getting now are to fix hardware and software that are not invented yet."
If you are thinking of ordering computer systems using the Timeless chip, forget about ordering from IBM, because it is probably already on its way to you.